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Post COVID19 Operation Guidelines; Health & Safety Prerogatives

As COVID19 hit the globe, along with personal impact on people, most of the industries suffered due to not having a plan to manage COVID19 related health & safety risks. While service sectors shifted to full work-from-home model, manufacturing sector bore the blunt of COVID19 with suspended operations, workplace casualty, union strikes, reputation loss, reduced demand, supply chain disruption, and host of other problems.

Now, as the Unlock 2.0 has come into effect, the companies are once again going back to their full capacity in a phased manner. The national directives for workplaces as given by the central government through Unlock 2.0 guidelines are as follows:

1. Work from home should be followed as far as possible

2. Staggering of work/business hours to be followed in offices, workplaces, shops, markets, and industrial establishments

3. Thermal scanning, hand wash, and sanitizer at all entry & exit points, and common areas

4. Frequent sanitization of the entire workplace, common facilities, and all points e.g. door handles etc. to be ensured.

5. All persons in charge of workplaces to ensure adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering lunch breaks etc.

As the operations are swung into full force, there are some key steps the organizations need to take for COVID19 resilience.

· Formulate a task force for handling COVID19 related emergencies

· Prepare guidelines for COVID 19 safety

· Communication plan to ensure that all the employees are aware about the guidelines and the emergency contacts

· Periodic sanitization of the workplace

· Change in the workstations to ensure that there is at least 2 meters distance between employees

Companies also must follow the The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) COVID-19 Guidance for Air Conditioning and Ventilation to set the adequate temperature, humidity, and fresh air circulation.

For manufacturing companies, there are some additional guidelines given by national disaster management authority (NDMA).

1. Carry out a complete Safety Audit of the entire unit before restarting the operations

2. Cleaning of all the facilities including equipment, machineries, pipelines, and discharge lines

3. In case the operation has been idle due to COVID19, Boilers, furnaces etc must be checked for lining and signs of wear and tear

4. Similarly ensure that all the pressure gauges are working correctly. Also check supply pipelines, conveyor belts etc. for any wear and tear.

5. Tightness test: To prevent the leakage of combustible or toxic materials, it is necessary to confirm that the plant complies with the required tightness before restarting the operations.

For non-manufacturing units that requires the employees to work from office, the following guidelines issued by the Karnataka government can be referred.

1. Dedicated transportation facility to be arranged with social distancing while the Employees are permitted to use personal vehicles.

2. Employees to be screened before entering the public transport using Thermal Scanners. However, employees using personal vehicles shall only be screened before entering the premises.

3. Employees to sign in a common register/declaration form at the entrance declaring they are asymptomatic.

4. Surveillance of entrance , cafeteria and all other common spaces/ public places through CCTV monitoring for physical distancing practices.

5. All employees shall compulsorily wear face mask in common areas/public places.

A suitable Nodal Officer for COVID19 for the organization can be nominated by the Company Head, they should coordinate the COVID19 related activities in the workspace and designated person must liaise with health department for advice.

Even after following these guidelines, it may very well occur that COVID19 cases have been detected in the organization. In that case, it important to follow the protocol for contact tracing. Isolate the person in a separate area dedicated for isolation and immediately inform the nearest medical facility regarding the case. This must be followed by a risk assessment regarding further spread and disinfection of the premises. Ensure that the isolation room is in a segregated area not frequented by visitors, has all the necessary items, and follows other COVID19 guidelines.



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